The Exams Office, in partnership with Pearson, launched the Exams Manual in January 2022. This is intended as a folder which will serve as a repository for key centre-specific, exams-related information to support centres in developing an effective contingency and succession plan, in the event of the absence or departure of their exams officer.
We would like to thank Pearson for their support in enabling us to deliver the Manual to our member centres, and to the National Association of Examinations Officers for recognising and endorsing this new initiative and key resource.
The purpose of the Exams Manual
The Manual has been produced to encourage and support centres in maintaining an up-to-date library of key documents and support materials which will ensure:
- Compliance with JCQ regulations
- Preparation for centre inspections
- Effective contingency planning in the event of the absence of the exams officer
- Support for succession planning upon the appointment of a new exams officer, particularly if the person appointed has not previously undertaken the exams officer role
The development of the Manual is in response to the findings in the 2021 Exams Officer Survey which revealed that in 37.8% of centres there is inadequate contingency planning if the exams officer was absent during a critical period such as the submission deadline for exam entries, during an exam series or before/on a results day.
This lack of risk management and mitigation is of significant concern as a lack of contingency planning is directly linked to an additional, longer term, issue – that of inadequate succession planning. The 2021 Survey revealed that 79% of centres have little/no succession planning in place to support a new exams officer.
The Manual will help centres in providing support for new exams officers or those undertaking the role on a temporary basis and reduce the risk of maladministration and malpractice in the event of absence or departure of their exams officer.
What will centres receive?
During February 2022, all centres with an active membership to The Exams Office received a dispatch which included:
- An Exams Manual ring-bound folder
- A set of dividers to help exams officers in collating all the relevant information and resources for each exam series, and the key information which will enable an individual to assume responsibility for the management, administration and conducting of examinations and complete relevant exams-related tasks at any time during the academic year/exam cycle
- A series of ‘A GUIDE TO…’ documents providing basic overviews of key examination processes within the exam cycle
How should centres use the Exams Manual?
To get the most out of the Exams Manual, heads of centres and senior leaders should support their exams officer in creating and maintaining an up-to-date and accurate record of key exams-related documents and materials relevant to the centre split under the following sections:
- General information – e.g. key dates; awarding body contact details; MIS provider guides/information etc.
- Key documents – templates/forms, guides, checklists etc as used within your centre each academic term
- Inspections – records of inspection reports
- Policies – a repository for exams-related policies/procedures
- Invigilation – a record of training given to invigilators and copies of certificates
- Professional Development – a record of professional development activities undertaken/events attended by the exams officer/exams office staff
Exams officers should update the Manual on a regular basis by including resources which are relevant to their centre from the library of documents and support materials which are available on The Exams Office website and Online Portal.
In September 2023, all member centres of The Exams Office* will receive an additional Exams Manual to store any further documents and support materials.
Additional copies (subject to availability) can be obtained free of charge by attending The Exams Office conferences or training events.
If a centre requires an additional Manual before September 2023 this will be charged at £15 +VAT. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* A copy of the Exams Manual has been sent to all centres with a valid membership to The Exams Office as of 1 January 2022. Additional copies can be obtained free of charge by attending The Exams Office conferences or training events during 2021/22. Any additional copies sent by post will be charged at £15+VAT.
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